Bates’ new defensive scheme, calls for big athletic quick linebackers to attack gaps, force the action back towards the inside while also providing a legitimate pass rush when the team brings what many feel will be a myriad of new wrinkles when it comes to blitzing opposing offenses.
It will be hard to fathom the team spending absurd amounts of cap space to fill the vacancies left by both Derrick Brooks and Cato June with younger more physical players on the roster in Quincy Black who is in the 6’2 245 pound range who has the speed and size not to mention the ability to rush the passer. Adam Hayward is a converted defensive end from Portland State where he was an undersized edge rusher at 6’0 235 Hayward is an aggressive player that has been learning how to play linebacker the last several seasons in the old Tampa 2 scheme, now he will be asked to do more of what is comfortable to him by attacking a gap and applying pressure.
Geno Hayes has the most intrigue surrounding his future, as he is more of an undersized Tampa 2 linebacker. But from what many have seen of him when he was at FSU along with the sparse playing time last season before landing on the IR, Hayes was an aggressive, physical fierce hitter that doesn’t mind laying the lumber sort of speak.
With two vacant OLB spots up for grabs and the team having three hungry youngsters waiting in the wings, don’t be surprised to see the Bucs target a lesser known player to come in and compete with the trio of Black, Hayward and Hayes or even a mid round draft prospect that is in the same mold as Black & Ruud size wise.
Players that might be peaking the Bucs interest could include the following players, while the usual names such as Jonathan Vilma and Bart Scott will be at the top of the list, I don’t foresee the team signing a player of that caliber when they have the above mentioned trio already vying for a chance to start.
The players that have a better chance of being signed are players whom have not played alot in their respective careers with other teams, but provide the size and skill traits new defensive coordinator Jim Bates is looking for. Below is a list of potential players that fit the bill.
- Dontarrious Thomas 6’2 240
- Niko Koutouvides 6’2 238
- Roderick Green 6’2 255
- Kevin Burnett 6’3 230
- Darryl Blackstock 6’3 255
- Eric Alexander 6’2 255